Turkmenistan believes Iran could be the missing link to Europe

Feb 18, 2009 01:00 AM

Turkmen gas could be heading for Europe as soon as 2014, but not along a trans-Caspian route. Instead it could be pumped to Turkey via Iran.
Tehran seeks to become a gas transit hub and energy exporter to Europe. Those aims received a boost from a February 14 agreement under which Ashgabat agreed to export an additional 10 bn cm of Turkmen gas to Iran. The two countries also agreed in principle on a joint-development project in the Yoloten gas field in south-eastern Turkmenistan.

The head of the National Iranian Gas Export Company, Reza Kasaeizadeh, said a "Persian Pipeline" could rival the proposed Nabucco project. This rival route would rely on exiting infrastructure to transport gas as far as the Turkish border. Kasaeizadeh added that Iranian officials were seeking the support of European Union member for the plan.
The proposed Iranian export route has a current capacity of 40 bn cm annually. Nabucco, as currently envisioned, would be able to provide 31 bn cm of gas to Europe every year.

Iran itself possesses reserves that could make it a formidable exporter. Some plans call for Iran to boost domestic production to 465 bn cm by 2020.
The country's economic difficulties, as well as problems accessing international credit markets, could prevent Tehran from realizing its aims.

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